- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last season was a tough one for Stevie Brown.
He spent the year with the Indianapolis Colts, a team that would finish 2-14.
The Colts were widely considered to be the worst team in the NFL, but Brown couldn't crack their starting secondary. Instead, he was stuck on special teams.
Brown called 2011 a low-point in his three-year NFL career.
"Whenever you’re just looking out there and your team is not winning and you’re just kind of sitting around and you know you feel like you can contribute, (it's tough)," Brown said. "That was one of those times where I was just like, 'I wish I was out there. I wish I was able to contribute and see if I can do something.'
Brown's gotten the chance to do that the last few weeks with the Giants. And the results have been extraordinary.
Brown leads the NFL in takeaways (five interceptions, two fumble recoveries) after recording two INTs and one fumble recovery in the Giants' win over the Cowboys. He had three of the Giants' six turnovers and has four picks in the last four weeks.
"He has been where the ball is," Tom Coughlin said. "That's something that's really helped us.... We're now plus-13 in turnovers after eight games. I would like to hope that this could continue."
So would Brown.
The former seventh-round pick out of Michigan has started at safety in place of Kenny Phillips (knee) since Sept. 30 against Philadelphia.
In that span, he has four picks and two fumble recoveries for the 6-2 Giants.
"Since I’ve been in there, I’ve been trying to make the most of my opportunities," Brown said.
"He’s been the guy who has been able to be on the spot and anticipate. He obviously has a very good knack for (being near the ball)," Coughlin said.
Brown's crowning achievements came against Dallas. His first pick -- on Dallas' first drive -- resulted in a Giants' field goal. His second pick came with 1:14 remaining and ended a Dallas threat. In between, he added a fourth-quarter fumble recovery.
Brown says his recent run of success has "been everything I’ve been working for."
But can it continue?
Phillips practiced on a limited basis twice last week and is expected to return to his starting role once he gets back on the field, possibly as soon as Sunday against Pittsburgh.
Phillips status is unclear at the moment. But Brown insists that he won't be jealous if he has to take a back seat to the veteran.
Phillips has been a guiding light of sorts for Brown since he's been out.
"He definitely has an impact on the way I’m playing because he helps me out," Brown said. "He’s a professional."
Brown can say the same about himself.
Over the last four weeks, he's been one of the best in the NFL.